Residents are being encouraged to take care of themselves this winter as temperatures drop and pressure increases on the NHS.
Health officials say more than 3.5million people across the country visit A&E departments every year for self-treatable conditions, such as stomach complaints, colds, flu and colic.
Before visiting A&E, people are being asked to consider whether there is a service better suited to their health needs, such as seeing their GP or a local pharmacist, or calling NHS 111.
Professor Chris Gray, NHS England’s medical director for Cumbria and the North East, said: “Our NHS staff work extremely hard around the clock to provide the best possible care for people.
“At this time of year they are under significant pressure.
“We all have a responsibility to use our NHS services wisely and to help ensure that those who really need urgent and emergency care in A&E departments can access that care.
“Pharmacists are highly qualified health care professionals who offer expert, confidential advice and treatment for minor health problems. Many pharmacies are in accessible locations, such as supermarkets, and open during evenings and weekends.”
“Importantly, most have a confidential room where people can discuss their medical needs in private.”
NHS Choices website – www.nhs.uk – is a trusted source of health related advice and information.
Advice for parents and carers is also available on the free NHS child health app.